8:12am Tuesday 19th June 2012
By Steve Tinniswood
WHEN Harry Campbell was shown the door at his beloved Blackburn Rovers after 10 years as an Academy player he was left devastated – but he never lost faith.
Despite ending an association that stretched back to when he was just six-years-old, the young goalkeeper picked himself up, dusted himself down and carried on.
Although he could have gone the way of many a young footballer – seeing his dreams dashed before they had begun – Harry, 16, set about finding a new club.
“I was absolutely devastated when I left because I just hadn’t seen it coming,” said the QEGS pupil. “I had been at the club for so long and thought I was doing pretty well.
“So when it came to an end I was gutted.”
But Harry, or his family, wouldn’t allow him to feel sorry for himself.
He had confidence in his own ability and he knew, sooner or later, he would find another club.
So after had unsuccessful trials at Stoke City and Blackpool, out of the blue, Bolton Wanderers came calling.
And after a six week stint, the Reebok club offered him a two-year scholarship Now Harry admits he could not be in safer hands at Wanderers.
“When I left Rovers, I knew I would find another club,” added Campbell who lives in Darwen. “It was just a case of when and what club it would be. I had trials at Stoke and Blackpool which went alright then I got the call from Bolton.
“As soon as I went there, I loved it and thankfully after a six week trial, they offered me a two year scholarship.”
But Harry was given something of a baptism of fire at the new club when he got a surprise call-up to sit on the bench for Bolton’s game against Norwich.
Then, the inevitable happened when, 15 minutes in to the second half, the Wanderers keeper was injured.
Harry got his calling.
“If am to be completely honest, I didn’t want to go on because I didn’t think I was ready,” he said. “But looking back, it was the best thing that has happened to me.”
Harry has always played in the nets, every since he played for Darwen Rangers as a five-year-old and later Real Juniors.
“You can blame my dad for that!” said Harry who stands at 6ft 2inch and is still growing. “He told me to go in goals right from the off and it is something I have always done.”
Unless he is playing for the school where he plays up front!
“I suppose it can get a bit much when you are between the sticks all the time so playing up front for the school is good for me.
“Besides, I think it helps me with my touch and be aware of how strikers like to get the ball. But it is also nice to score the odd goal as well.”
Harry, a lifelong Rovers fan, says Brad Friedel is the keeper he models his game on.
Now he would love to one day follow in his footsteps.
“I used to go and watch Brad play when he was at Rovers and I think he is a top keeper,” added Harry who has played for England Independent Schools] FA U14s and Lancashire Schoolboys U16s.
“I would love to play in the Premier League, that is every player in my position’s dream.
“But really, I just want to play professional football and do something I love.
“I know that is a long way off and I have a lot of hard work to do but I am glad I am now doing it at Bolton Wanderers.”
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